Editorials

Sacramento has a better way to fight Trump on immigration than a May Day march

Protesters cast shadows as they walk with a sign during a May Day rally in Los Angeles.
Protesters cast shadows as they walk with a sign during a May Day rally in Los Angeles. AP

With Donald Trump in the Oval Office, stubbornly prioritizing the deportation of as many immigrants as quickly as possible, regardless of any real need to do so, it’s no wonder that tens of thousands of people spent May Day flooding the nation’s streets in protest.

In Sacramento, hundreds marched to the Capitol, waving signs and chanting, “No ban, no wall.” In San Francisco, protesters circled the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters, temporarily blocking streets.

In Oakland, police arrested four people for blocking the entrance of an Alameda County administration building. And in Los Angeles, thousands marched through downtown; some threw rocks at Trump supporters and burned an American flag.

And that’s just in California.

Watching the marches swell, an echo of February’s Day Without Immigrants, one might think protesting is the best way to resist Trump’s mindless fixation on immigration.

In truth, there are other, more effective tactics. Marching just gets all the attention.

Far more valuable than protesters chaining themselves to a building is what the Sacramento City Council is poised to do Tuesday, when it considers investing up to $300,000 in an education and legal defense network for undocumented immigrants facing deportation. The plan also would reaffirm Sacramento’s status as a sanctuary city.

The money would come from the general fund, meaning Sacramento would be putting its money where its mouth is, possibly in more ways than one. The Trump administration has vowed to punish cities that forbid local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, although the courts have blocked such efforts so far.

“It is a modest investment, but it is a very important investment,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg told The Bee’s Ryan Lillis and Anita Chabria. “It says very clearly to our community, especially those who are affected by these unconstitutional orders, that we are going to stand with you.”

The council should approve the plan.

Protests matter. But when the marches end and hardworking, decent people are pointlessly facing deportation, it’s a voice in court, and funding to ensure it, that will matter most.

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